Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wisconsin Author AJ Knauss supports OATH

AJ Knauss returns with a special request to support
Operation All the Way Home.

We first met AJ earlier this year when she came to share about her book Room Four. Read the post.

 Recently she sent this request:

Hi Lisa,

I have partnered with Operation All the Way Home to donate all my book proceeds until the end of my current army tour to their organization.  OATH is a group of high school students who are building an accessible home for SPC Jerral Hancock. On his birthday, he became paralyzed, burned and lost his left arm in Iraq.  He has two young kids and an indomitable spirit.

As a physician I know too well that the acute trauma care we provide is only a small part, the long road after is everything.  kids and Mr. Hancock are truly inspiring.

They are over halfway there in fundraising and I think they could get there so quickly if word spread.

Thank you again for your support of Wisconsin authors!

MAJ Anne Johnson MD
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

author of ROOM FOUR, AJ Knauss

Mission Statement
    OATH is a grass-roots, community effort created and organized by the Pride of the Nation students of Lancaster High School.  
    The mission of Operation All The Way Home (OATH) is to assist veterans of the United States Armed Forces with the acquisition of housing, both permanent and transitional. OATH also assists veterans with other needs as they relate to assimilating into civilian life after completion of their service.
    OATH's current mission is to raise funds and break ground for construction of a new home for wounded warrior, Jerral Hancock, within one year. Committed to working from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014, the students have enlisted for a one-year "tour of duty" to make this happen.  

About the book:

It's just after Christmas and Alan Fries, hapless accountant, wonders why nurses with antler hats are hovering over him. He endures a three day coma stuck with only Jerry for company, an 87-year-old crank who died in the same room earlier but is waiting for someone to sign the death certificate. Jerry and Alan becomes dead flies on the wall of an aging Chicago hospital and observe the staff...the doctor who leaves his sperm sample in the work fridge, the veteran nurse putting the kibosh on an intern's crush, the holiday hamfork injuries and the various nutcases who file through the ER doors. When they uncover a billing scandal and the truth about the corrupt CEO who is bankrupting the hospital they get to work. But can they put the proof in front of the eyes of the living in time? Can they save the hospital before driving each other crazy? Will Alan get resuscitated and start the bucket list he never had? A grouchy, laugh-out-loud, heartwarming tale of how tough love shines through the crustiest exterior.

ISBN: 978-1477572436
$11.95 Print
$3.79 E-book

Connect with AJ:
Amazon Author Page


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Greg Peck with updated book Death Beyond the Willows

Death Beyond the Willows by Greg Peck
 “Greg Peck’s work is a breath of fresh air,” says Ben Logan, author of the popular Wisconsin book The Land Remembers.
Death Beyond the Willows is a true story of rural history surrounding the shocking 1927 tragedy in Portage, Wisconsin that befell a couple from Dane County on their wedding day. It’s a story about the family farm and how we’re losing that part of our heritage. It’s a story about an old Chevy in the days when highways still offered primitive transportation. It’s a story about spirituality and a clash of religions that divided the two families—with dramatic and surprising twists. And it’s a story that emphasizes how every person, every life, holds a library of stories.
This newly released edition includes fresh graphics designed to enhance readership.
The Pirkl family tree will help readers follow who’s who among the many relatives.
Maps pinpoint clusters of key locations.
A new cover is tastefully designed.
An Afterword tells how the book inspired bus tours of key sites and of stunning coincidental stories that emerged and brought this rich history full circle.
Peck spent years researching this tragedy, which inspired the late Zona Gale, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and native of Portage, to write a fictional short story, “Bridal Pond.” The book weaves the true, full story, and the writers spent months working on and publishing this update.
To purchase: Greg will ship a signed copy for $20. It would make a good Christmas gift. Please pass the word! Send checks to him.
Greg Peck
1421 Eastwood Ave.
Janesville, WI 53545
Also available as a paperback on Amazon
Rattlesnake Valley Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0983060147
About the author:
Greg Peck is Opinion page editor of The Gazette in Janesville, Wis. He graduated from Marshall High School in Marshall, Wis., in 1975. A 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, he has worked and written for Wisconsin newspapers the past 34 years. He has won a variety of journalism and nonfiction awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, the Inland Press Association and the Wisconsin Writers Association. He serves on the board of directors of the WWA.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book review, literary panache: Pepperland, by Barry Wightman

Product Details

Pepperland by Barry Wightman
Running Meter Press
c. April 2013
$9.99 eBook; $19.99 Print
Genre: historical fiction

I am in a strange place as I read Pepperland. I am transported to a vague recollection of my father coming home to announce the assignation of President Kennedy, of wearing granny dresses and wire rims in grade school during the hippy movement, of wondering what Kent State was about, of seeing welcome banners in the neighborhood when a son returned from Viet Nam and the resulting devastation, and of being in college and watching the movie Billy Jack and wondering what I could protest when the world was trying to put the seventies behind it and going corporate.

Set in the late sixties, Pepperland revolves around  Martin, “Pepper,” Porter, a man who wanted “to bang on the drum all day,” as the song says, instead of using his considerable talent and college degree in computer programming to bring in the big bucks of corporate America, possibly losing his soul in the process. Instead, he explores a relationship with a woman he met at school in Ann Arbor, “Fights the good fight and makes a difference,” as one of his professors challenges, by putting together a rock band and fighting to be heard. Avoiding entropy is a theme as the reader follows Pepper while he finds his lost love in a Playboy club, works through the childhood death of a younger brother, and records his music.

Set in “Tracks” the story unfolds like an LP. It reads almost like a memoir, or an epitaph of changing times, making me wonder if we let go of that era a little too quickly. Like Harold Crick’s watch in Stranger Than Fiction, Pepper’s guitar pick sends subtle messages, reminding Pepper to follow the dream. I am a step out of place, as I laughed at Tony Orlando, but for those who appreciate the music and musicians of the sixties, Pepperland will play like a much-enjoyed echo of an era that isn’t lost, just resting at the back of the mind.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Garden Memoir sure to enchant

Product Details

By Chris Eirschele
c. 2013
36-page book with eight chapters, photographs

“The innate ability to grow plants is a gift from my parents; this is their story; what I did with it is mine.”

Garden Truths is a charming story of family, legacy, gifts, secrets and joy, through it all, growing things. Eirschele’s memoir will touch readers who have fond memories of their parents.

Eirschele’s dad loved to grow flowers from bulbs and perennials, and especially loved to share them. Some of the authors’ family and friends shared their memories of the precious gift.

Throughout the book, Eirschele has photographs of her own plants, plants that illustrate the chapters. She also takes care to include instructions for the growth, nurture, and storage of the plants she talks about.

From lilies to sweet Williams to her mother’s indoor potted citrus trees (an orangery), exotic plants, and fruit and vegetable hints, Eirschele’s gentle memoir is sure to enchant.

About the Author:
Chris Eirschele is a freelance garden writer whose current work is found on www.BucketTripper.com. Chris' inspiration comes from plants grown, gardens explored and garden paths traveled. Her articles have been read in such far ranging publications as Ohio Gardener, Greenhouse Grower and Milwaukee Magazine. Her muse resides at her blog, www.StayGardening.com.

She is a past Master Gardener with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee County Extension and as member of the Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners and was horticulturally educated at Milwaukee Area Technical College. A native of Wisconsin, Chris now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

She has maintained a membership with the Garden Writers Association since 2006. Chris' past memberships include the Perennial Plant Association and the Daylily Society of SouthEast Wisconsin.

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Book! WWA's Jeanette Michalets, author of The Ten Cent Cafe

Jeanette Michalets's first novel, The Ten Cent Café
has arrived

Historical/mainstream fiction, set in Wisconsin.
It is available through Amazon, through her website, and at Books and Company in Oconomowoc

$3.99 Kindle
$10.44 Paper

In a charming café in a small Wisconsin city—where everything on the menu costs a mere dime—Henry Durant’s sinister history collides with his promising present in a way that will affect generations to come.

Starting in the early part of the twentieth century, the novel reveals the lives of four generations of Durant men. Patriarch Henry is a French-Canadian entrepreneur determined to create a new life for his large family in his adopted hometown. His son, George, a self-proclaimed ladies’ man, seeks love and adventure in 1920s Hollywood and the world of silent movies. Aaron, George’s son, is a tormented individual who longs to be a successful writer. His aspirations bring him into conflict with his father and eventually lead him on a downward spiral. In the end, it is Aaron’s son, Paul, who must overcome the anger and sense of abandonment he feels toward his father in order to find love and realize his own aspirations—dreams that bring him full circle—back to the little city where his ancestors once dwelled.

The Ten Cent Café is a timeless tale of love and loss, of ambitions realized and others abandoned, but above all, it is a story about the familial threads that bind a family together and sometimes break it apart.

The Ten Cent Cafe was recognized in the Wisconsin Writers Association’s annual contest in 2011.

Join Michaelets and friends at her book launch/signing party on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Vino Etcetera in Oconomowoc. 

About the Author:
JEANETTE MICHALETS is the author of two nonfiction books and has published in numerous magazines, including Ancestry. She enjoys freelancing for the local newspaper and has been recognized for her essays. The Ten Cent Cafe was honored in 2011 by the Wisconsin Writers Association in its Jade Ring First Chapter Contest.
Michalets lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two dogs. In her free time, she volunteers for local historical preservation groups. She is at work on another novel.
Visit Jeanette's website


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Christian Writers Conference near Manitowoc in August!

Becky Lafferty offers a 2-day writing conference in August at their small alpaca farm just south of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Last year’s conference was such a blessing and this year we are excited to have: 

·       five (5) fabulous Christian authors to teach us what we need to know to get published and improve our writing;
·       a diverse variety of Christian writers’ topics;
·       wonderful upgraded conference facilities on our 100+ year old alpaca farm;
·       a full day of events on Saturday, which are included (with a hearty country lunch) in the registration fee;
·       opportunities for critiques and Query Letters seminar on Friday evening, for additional fees;
·       an early bird registration fee through July 1, 2013; and
·       a block of reserved rooms at the Holiday Inn-Manitowoc. 

It was such fun to meet some of you last year, and we hope to gather even more Christian writers this year. We are a unique group of people and it is exhilarating to meet other like-minded individuals! 

Seating is limited, so please register online at www.countrymemoriesfarm.com.


God has put this event on my heart. To Him be the glory. 

If you have any questions, please phone or email.  

Heartfelt blessings to you all,


Rebecca McLafferty



Tuesday, May 28, 2013



Gardeners present a quirky way of living life. For this child of parents who made growing plants a part of everyday living, the memories kept, as well collected from relatives, developed into a fun retrospective.

Author Chris Eirschele shares her recollections of growing up with gardening parents all living in a little pink house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in an ebook entitled, Garden Truths From My Family’s Stories. Made up of eight chapters of comical, sad and inspirational essays, the pages are dotted with photos from the author’s collection. According to Eirschele, “The garden became a knowable space where I was at home before I ever realized these feelings would even matter.” The author’s parents shared their garden life in their decidedly middle-class Wisconsin home with family and friends. Sometimes quirky or funny but always sincere, they brought the gardening life with them wherever they visited.

Chris Eirschele is a freelance garden writer whose current work is found on www.BucketTripper.com. Chris' inspiration for writing comes from plants grown, gardens explored and garden paths traveled. Her articles have been read in such far ranging publications as Ohio Gardener, Greenhouse Grower and Milwaukee Magazine. Her muse resides at her blog, www.StayGardening.com.

She is a past Master Gardener with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee County Extension and as member of the Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners and was horticulturally educated at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

A native of Wisconsin, Chris now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
She has maintained a membership with the Garden Writers Association since 2006. Chris' past memberships include the Perennial Plant Association and the Daylily Society of SouthEast Wisconsin.

Garden Truths From My Family’s Stories is her first ebook. Self-published and sold by Amazon

 Digital Services, Inc. (ASIN: B00BDV05U0)
--Watch for my review in August!

Monday, May 27, 2013

New book details 100+ day trails in NW Wisconsin


New book details 100+ day trails in NW Wisconsin
‘Headin’ to the Cabin’ focuses on recreational communities in 9 counties

HUDSON, WIS. (May 25, 2013) – Ah, “headin’ to the cabin” – those few words alone are enough to conjure images of a relaxing weekend by the lake, of a pleasant stroll through the woods or along a beach, of a place where one’s cell phone hopefully doesn’t work.

And what better way to experience all that the “up north” has to offer than through a day hike?

Cabin-goers to Wisconsin’s Northwoods now have available the most complete listing of the region’s day hiking trails in the new book, “Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northwest Wisconsin,” by Rob Bignell. The book was released this month.

Describing more than 100 trails, the book covers nine Wisconsin counties – Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Polk, St. Croix, Sawyer and Washburn.

“In Northwest Wisconsin you can walk across 1.2 billion-year-old rock, dip your toes in the world’s largest freshwater lake, tramp along the same routes that the first European explorers bushwhacked during the 1600s, and see the fourth highest waterfall east of the Rockies,” said Bignell, an avid hiker and author of the popular and critically acclaimed “Hikes with Tykes” guidebooks. “I’ve hiked in more than 30 states now, and Northwest Wisconsin certainly ranks up there with the best.”

The book separates trails by communities that cabin-goers frequent. Each community entry includes at least one feature article about a great local trail and then includes snapshot descriptions of several other area day hiking trails as well as a list of neighboring communities for easy cross-referencing.

“Almost all trail guidebooks for the region fall into one of two categories: They’re either for backpackers making multi-day overnight trips or they cherry pick the region’s ‘best’ trails,” Bignell said. “But what if you’re spending a weekend up north and don’t have time to do a four- or five-day trip? Or what if you’re vacationing for a week, but the only trails listed in the guidebook all are a couple of hours drive from you?

“‘Headin’ to the Cabin’ in contrast focuses on day hiking trails that you can do in under a few hours and lists multiple trails in every major recreational community.”

A long-time hiker, editor and journalist, Bignell is uniquely qualified to discuss hiking. He and his son Kieran have hiked through old groves of redwood trees that soared 150 feet over their heads, peakbagged mountains, rambled along ocean coastlines, searched fossil and gem trails, and explored remote desert canyons, often all in the same month.

Those experiences led to Bignell’s previously published hiking books, “Hikes with Tykes” A Practical Guide to Day Hiking with Kids” (2011) and “Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities” (2012). He’s also the author of three writing/self-publishing guidebooks, a novel, and a collection of poetry.

Bignell served as an infantryman in the Army National Guard and taught middle school students in New Mexico and Wisconsin. His newspaper work has won several journalism awards, from editorial writing to sports reporting. In 2001, The Prescott Journal, which he served as managing editor of, was named Wisconsin’s Weekly Newspaper of the Year.

A Wisconsin native, Bignell now lives with his son in Hudson, Wis.

“Headin’ to the Cabin” is available for purchase in paperback or ebook at http://hikeswithtykes.com/headintothecabin_orderabook.html

Book specs:
 Publish date: April 5, 2013 (ebook); April 12, 2013 (paperback)
 Publisher: Atiswinic Press
 ISBN: 978-0-9858739-6-7
 Price: $9.95 (paper); $1.99 (ebook)
 Pages: 168 (paper)
 Cover: Paperback (paper)
 Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5 (paper)
 Website: http://hikeswithtykes.com/headintothecabin_home.html

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Reveiw: Where the Tree Falls, the Forest Rises, an anthology of death and renewal

Where the Tree Falls, the Forest Rises: Stories of Death and Renewal
Where the Tree Falls, the Forest Rises: stories of Death and Renewal

An anthology, by Charlene Elderkin

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 4, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1479320374
·       ISBN-13: 978-1479320370

I am the last person who considers attending to death and all that goes with it in a supportive way. I think it’s selfishness on my part, a fear not of death itself, but of the ugly and inability to discipline my emotion in the moment.

Stories of death was not necessarily something I looked forward to, even with the Wendell Berry poem, and the exemplary Driftless Workshop credits to the author.

I was wrong.

These thirty amazing journey stories, some from first-time authors, from all walks of life and representing many cultures and belief systems, rip out our deepest angst and force us to examine the intertwining nature of humanity.

From the opening story, a daughter’s quest to spend time with her dying father that echoes the book's title, to Elderkin’s experience with her mother, and on to a sister never met—to spouses and children, each story tugs at the heart in a way that makes fear supercilious.

Each story is accompanied by a photo and short biography of the author.

Beautifully designed and easy to read, these stories, journals, and poems are meant to touch and hold anyone who’s ever experienced the death of a close one, and was changed because of the person’s life and passing.
About the author: Charlene Elderkin is a hospice volunteer, a home funeral educator, a member of the National Home Funeral Alliance, and co-founded the Threshold Care Circle, the first home funeral educational organization in the Midwest. An experienced speaker with audiences ranging from a handful to several hundred, giving presentations on home and green funerals to the Wisconsin Coroner and Medical Examiner’s Conference and the Chicago Memorial Society. Her works on death related topics have been published in Essential Inklings, The Correspondence, Lilipoh, and she co-authored an advance-planning book, My Final Wishes, available at www.thresholdcarecircle.org.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

PUT YOUR WORDS on stage at All Writers Workshop June 1

Put your words on stage!

WAUKESHA –  The 10-minute play is no longer a fad.  It is considered a legitimate form of theatre that has proven highly popular with audiences around the world.  The compact form forces playwrights to get the story moving quickly and keep dramatic tension tight.  It also helps when writing full-length plays to form concise scenes within acts.  For the playwright, 10-minute plays are FUN to write!

Join us on June 1 for a one-day workshop, Enter Laughing (or Crying), with playwrights Gail Sterkel and Kathleen Allison Johnson, to learn about writing the short play.  Leave the workshop with new ideas and material to spark your creative fire!

GAIL STERKEL has written numerous ten-minute plays and monologues that have been produced on various Madison stages.  In addition, Gail’s one-act play, “Lust Through Infiniti,” was a finalist in the New Jersey Rep’s Seven Deadly Sins contest.  Gail currently teaches writing at Madison College; she has taught an abundant number of creative writing classes and workshops for the UW and other venues. Gail is currently writing a “how to” book on ten minute plays.

KATHLEEN ALLISON JOHNSON has had ten plays produced on various Madison stages.  Her full-length play, The Eleventh Hour, was a semi-finalist for the Panowski Playwriting Award.  Her short stories, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in magazines including American Heritage, Kaleidoscope, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and Rosebud.  Kathleen has degrees in math and English.  She has written a novel and is currently at work on her second.

Together, Gail and Kathleen are delighted to announce that their collaborative full-length play, Ten Thousand Moons From Here, will be produced by Kathie Rasmussen Women’s Theatre of Madison, on the stage of the Bartell Theatre in Madison, June 2013. 

This class will be held at AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop, 234 Brook Street, Unit 2, Waukesha, WI, on Saturday, June 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The cost for this event is $85, and includes lunch.  You can register by calling 262-446-0284 or online at www.allwriters.org, click on Celebrity Saturdays.

AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop offers on-site and online writing courses in all genres and abilities of creative writing, as well as coaching and editing services.  A schedule of classes and registration is available online at http://www.allwriters.org/ or you can call 262-446-0284.

Kathie Giorgio
Director, AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop LLC
Author, The Home For Wayward Clocks
234 Brook St., Unit 2
Waukesha WI  53188
Phone:  (262) 446-0284
AllWriters' Website: http://www.allwriters.org/
Kathie's Website:  http://www.kathiegiorgio.org/

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Last Minute Opening at the Clearing for retreat in May

Judy Bridges says: I have some room I rarely have. It's the "Writers' Wellspring," May 19-25. If you happen to know anyone who'd be interested, perhaps you could pass the word. It's a great opportunity for someone who really wants to get better at writing. Here's a class description: http://theclearing.org/current/classes_summer_description.php?id=8


Class #8

Writers’ Wellspring

Judy Bridges

May 19 - May 25

If you ever wished for the perfect opportunity to explore your love for writing, this is it. Whether you want to write family stories, personal essays, short stories, nonfiction, plays or novels, you will appreciate having the support of an experienced coach and a group of like-minded friends. Designed for beginning to intermediate writers, Writers' Wellspring is the perfect blend of time, space and inspiration.

Time… A full week for you to dress casually, sleep 'til the bell rings and show up just in time for meals. Learn more about writing in the morning, write in the afternoon and read, write or hang out by the fire in the evening.

Space… Log cabins. Wooded trails. A shimmering lake. More stars than some people see in a lifetime—every one of them twinkling. "Do you want to write? Do it! Do it! Do it!"

Inspiration… Breathe in the good energy of every writer, every artist, every interesting person who has ever visited The Clearing. Read the books in the Lodge. Sit in the Cliffhouse and listen to the words in the waves.

Craft coaching includes character development, scene visualization, point-of-view, lively writing and a primer on various methods of publication. Judy is committed to helping you make progress on the path you choose.

Judy Bridges is the author of Shut Up & Write! and the founder of Redbird Studio writing center in Milwaukee. Prior to founding the studio, she earned her living writing articles, short stories, plays and corporate communications. She holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in creative writing and adult education. Her next book will be a collection of family stories titled, You Drive, You're too Drunk to Sing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: The Katyn Order - excellent follow up to Night of Flames

Douglas W. Jacobson

ISBN-13: 978-1590136478

Publisher: McBooks Press (May 1, 2011)
Print: $16.95
Kindle: $9.95


From the publisher: The German war machine is in retreat as the Russians advance. In Warsaw, Resistance fighters rise up against their Nazi occupiers, but the Germans retaliate, ruthlessly leveling the once-beautiful city. American Adam Nowak has been dropped into Poland by British intelligence as an assassin and Resistance fighter. During the Warsaw Uprising he meets Natalia, a covert operative who has lost everything—just as he has. Amid the Allied power struggle left by Germany’s defeat, Adam and Natalia join in a desperate hunt for the 1940 Soviet order authorizing the murders of 20,000 Polish army officers and civilians. If they can find the Katyn Order before the Russians, they just might change the fate of Poland.

My review: Jacobson’s second novel suffers no hint of sophomore syndrome; The Katyn Order is more mature and even better than Night of Flames. Carrying on from Night of Flames with the fate of Poland at the end of World War II and the months afterward, the author tells the story of the resistance movement and how the obliteration of Poles didn’t stop with the Nazis, but continued on after the ceasefire with the Russian NKVD. The book is unflinching in the detailed extermination efforts and I found the details amazing. True, there is a lot of description, again some of which I leafed through, but those who want a vicarious adventure through historical Poland will get what they want.

It’s not until nearly half-way into the story that the title quest is explained. Jacobson takes an event from history and evolves a scenario of deceit, betrayal, murder, and a thrill ride in an attempt to save Poland. History knows that attempt failed. Adam Nowak, a resistance operative, meets and falls in love with Natalya, another operative whose family was captured and brother killed in the Forest of Katyn in 1940, toward the end of the war. Eventually Adam learns that his law professor uncle who raised him and was sent to a death camp is not dead after all, but a founder of the resistance. The uncle is also a keeper of a dire secret, the only copy of the order signed by Stalin to murder thousands of soldiers and officers in the Forest of Katyn. The Russians then blamed the Nazis when the massacre came to light. If, perhaps, this document can be found and shown to the world, Stalin and the Soviet Union might not be able to get their hands on Poland if international outrage holds sway.

So, I admit I read the end of books upon occasion; I didn’t here. But I did stop and read some of the reviews. I fully expected the story to fall apart after reading several of them, one of whom apparently didn’t actually read the end. Instead I found Jacobson’s resolution of the events to be multi-layered, thoughtful, brilliant; the kind of ending that stays with a reader for days. 

The Katyn Order is ultimately a story of trust and faith, and lack thereof, of choosing sides and fighting for what you believe in. Highly recommended for those who love World War II gritty fiction. It is fiction, by the way, steeped in recorded events. The only reason I would consider giving less than a perfect review is because of the excessive blood and gore. That is war, and my slight squeamishness is too subjective to downgrade. Although I was provided a review copy of this novel, I purchased a copy for a gift. I majored in Russian studies in college, visited the Soviet Union, and have a smattering of Polish-area genes. Remembering my visit to Leningrad, to Moscow, seeing and walking among the constant presence of soldiers at that time, hearing the stories of World War II, even in the early 1980s--I have to say that the era has never been fogotten in Europe as its all too easy to do here in the States.
Douglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has travelled extensively in Europe researching the courage of common people caught up in the most catastrophic event of the twentieth century. His debut novel, NIGHT OF FLAMES: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 and released in paperback and Kindle in 2008. NIGHT OF FLAMES won the "2007 Outstanding Achievement Award" from the Wisconsin Library Association. He is the author of THE KATYN ORDER, 2011. Doug has also published numerous articles on underground resistance actions in Europe and is currently working on his third historical novel set in Europe during World War Two. Doug and his wife Janie live in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Festivals - Updates and News

Fox Cities Book Festival

April 17 - 24

The 2013 Fox Cities Book Festival has been set for April 17 through April 24 at venues from Kaukauna to Neenah and all points in between. This year’s Festival will feature nearly 65 writers and more than 75 events, including book talks, readings, poetry panels and writers workshops. The Festival will again run from a Wednesday through the following Wednesday, encompassing eight nights and a full weekend for author visits.


SAVE THE DATE: September 14, 2013 for the Southwest Wisconsin Book Festival. Attend workshops, meet great authors at the book signing and participate in the networking event. We hope you can attend!

The Call to Authors for the 2013 Southwest Wisconsin Book Festival is now open. The deadline to submit is May 17, 2013. To apply visit www.swwibookfestival.com.

Monday, April 8, 2013

WWII Novel review: Night of Flames by Douglas Jacobson

Night of Flames A novel or World War II by Douglas W Jacobson
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: McBooks Press (October 1, 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-1590131664 
List print: $16.95
List electronic $9.95

From the Publisher:

Painting a vivid and terrifying picture of war-torn Europe during World War II, this tale chronicles the lives of Anna, a Krakow University professor, and her husband Jan, a Polish cavalryman. After they are separated and forced to flee occupied Poland, Anna soon finds herself caught up in the Belgian Resistance, while Jan becomes embedded in British Intelligence efforts to contact the Resistance in Poland. He soon realizes that he must seize this opportunity to search for his lost wife, Anna.

My review:
Major Jan Kopernik of the Polish Cavalry Brigade, the 29th Uhlans, says it best: “The German blitzkrieg was not just a military strategy – it was an all-out campaign of terror intent on the total destruction of his homeland.”

Night of Flames is a well-detailed fictionalized account of the Nazi campaign in Poland, and the eventual resistance. Anna Kopernik, an associate university history professor in Krakow, her husband Jan, a major in the army, and Anna’s father, Thaddeus Piekarski, give their first-hand account of life during this terrible time. From being front and center when Warsaw is bombed, to watching the Luftwaffe bomb farmers on the roads and rural villages, to the occupation of Krakow, to joining the resistance, each of them deal with the tragedy.

Thaddeus decides to be patient at home, believing the Allies will rescue the city soon. Jan leads his brigade into battle trying to defend a poorly prepared country that still depended on civilian telephone lines and beasts of burden to move equipment on their poor roads; Anna and her Jewish friends return to Krakow from a visit to Warsaw where the Nazi occupation edicts put them all in danger.

Anna and Jan do the best they can to live long enough, fighting for their homeland, to find each other again. Anna gets involved in the resistance when she escapes to friends in Belgium just before Jan comes to Krakow on business for the exiled government because of his ability to speak German. She's captured later, and Jan uses his connections, even his military orders, to try to find her.

Jacobson’s attention to detail shows his respect for the era, for the events, equipment, geography and technology of the time, even weather patterns and clothing and food. While perhaps circumstances seem aligned in perfect favor for the characters, the account is fiction, and fiction asks for the ability to take a leap of faith upon occasion.

Realistic to the point that I occasionally buzzed through detailed battle accounts, Jacobson’s Night of Flames will offer readers who enjoy well-documented World War II history a great few hours back in time. Some brutality, on graphic rape.
About the author:
Douglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and World War Two history enthusiast. Doug has travelled extensively in Europe researching the courage of common people caught up in the most catastrophic event of the twentieth century. His debut novel, NIGHT OF FLAMES: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007 and released in paperback and Kindle in 2008. NIGHT OF FLAMES won the "2007 Outstanding Achievement Award" from the Wisconsin Library Association. He is the author of THE KATYN ORDER, 2011. Doug has also published numerous articles on underground resistance actions in Europe and is currently working on his third historical novel set in Europe during World War Two. Doug and his wife Janie live in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Naomi Musch, Empire in Pine

The Black Rose, book 3 in the Empire in Pine series
By Naomi Musch 

Desert Breeze Publishing
July 2012
ISBN: 9781612521923
$6.99 Kindle


From the publisher:

Despite the panic of 1893, logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori's fiance, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boomtown brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.


My review:

Naomi ends the Kade family saga, Empire in Pine, with the last of the trilogy in this story named for a rose in Lainey's garden in Superior WI. Grandma and Grandpa Kade have come to live with Lainey and Zane. At one point the whole family is called back when they wonder if Grandpa will make it. It's a too-brief family reunion of old friends mentioned in the other stories.

Lainey and Zane's twin daughters are eighteen and feeling it. They've let a man come between them, and everyone loses when Jesi confesses to Cori that she made the hugest mistake of her life out of desire for the man Cori thought she would marry. But just like the rose that is so dark-colored it's called black, it's still a rose, and eventually the girls must hit the blackest depths before crawling back into the light.

The first book of the series showcased the early years of Wisconsin's lumber barons; the second and third deal with the results of those years - the terrible fire that consumed Peshtigo in 1871, and the bawdy towns and services to the roughneck lumbermen: Hayward, Hurley, and Hell... Jesi runs away and finds herself in both Hurley and hell before a camp preacher and his sister pick her up and dusts her off.

At home, Cori is reunited with a family friend who encourages her to make something of herself. She goes to college to become a teacher, but she isn't done re-creating herself yet. There's a lot of self-examination to be done, and Jamie painfully helps her do that.

While the first two books were pinned on defining events in Wisconsin history, The Black Rose brings to light some of the more tawdry aspects of history. A few formatting issues and editing glitches didn't detract much from my Kindle version. Told in the richest detail, period-perfect as always, beautifully written, The Black Rose is a fitting end to the series. I'm sad to see it go.

Highly recommended for Wisconsin history lovers.


About the author:

Naomi loves stories rich in American history, but writes in several other genres as well. Naomi's aim is to surprise and entertain readers while telling stories about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles, whether the setting is past, contemporary, or even fantastic. 

She and husband Jeff have five adult children, and enjoy epic adventures with them around their home in the Wisconsin woods. She invites readers to say hello and find out more about her stories, passions, and other writing venues at http://www.naomimusch.com or look her up on Facebook (Naomi Musch - Author) and Twitter (NMusch).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mary Ellen Lisciandra talks about her book Stolen Lives

How did I decide to write about gangsters?

In my bio, I mentioned that I was inspired by reading about the St Valentine's Day Massacre and
the turf battles in Chicago over bootleg liquor in the 1920's.

What's the one thing I learned about publishing during my journey to publication?

Actually - there are two things: You have to learn to accept rejections and keep plugging - keep
marketing your book. Be persistent and never give up.

And, of course, you have to have an interesting idea.

How does it feel to be a published author? What does being a published author mean to


Fantastic! It inspires me to write the sequel (and to work on other writing projects). It also makes
me want to share my success and encourage others to follow their dreams of writing (or whatever
other endeavors they have), and never give up.

Stolen Lives by Mary Ellen Lisciandra
ISBN :  978-1-61225-152-3
Chicago. 1920. A time of Prohibition and gangsters. The Volstad Act was just passed the previous year, forbidding the manufacturing, selling, delivery, or any attempts to furnish
intoxicating liquor. However, there were many who chose to ignore this law. Chicago was a hotbed of bootleggers and mobsters.

From the start, it was a society that was addicted to vice, pain, and pleasure. It crushed ideas and beliefs and made certain people contemptible and their destruction desirable.
Gangsters and thugs ruled with an iron hand, as the nation reached a transformative moment.

STOLEN LIVES is a riveting story of ruthless ambition, greed, violence, and a twisted sense of justice. The men who ran this town were above morality and beyond reproach, ready to
kill anyone who got in their way. There was a constant fight for power between rival gangs. They played for keeps.

Follow the story of three desperate people caught in a dangerous web of love, betrayal and revenge during those incredible years known as "The Roaring 20s."
STOLEN LIVES can be purchased at the Book World Stores in either Stevens Point or Wisconsin Rapids.
It is also available through amazon.com and through barnesandnoble.com.
And, it is available for purchase directly through the author at my website :   www.maryellenlisciandra.wordpress.com
We are currently working on getting the book on kindle, nook, and e-books; and it will hopefully be available through these sources within the next month or so.